What is C programming language?

C programming language is a high-level programming language that you can use to create applications or programmes for a computer system. It has been around for several decades and has survived the test of time due to its flexibility and efficiency.

C is a compiled language which means that a C program, once written, has to be run through a compiler which turns the program into an executable file that can then be run by the computer or whatever system it was created for.

The C program is written as a human readable text file with a .c extension. The C compiler converts the C program into an executable binary file that is the machine readable and executable.

As compared to other popular programming languages, C is a small language in the sense that it has less to learn. Due to its small size, C lacks many high level features. This can be frustrating but it also means that C imposes relatively few built-in ways of doing things on the programmer. Which means in a way, C doesn’t get in the way of the developer.


To make the core of C language very small and simple, special functionality is provided as libraries of ready-made functions. Some standard libraries are provided for you so you don’t have to recreate standard ways of doing things. However, you can also build your own libraries.

In C, there are libraries for things such as:

  • mathematical functions
  • string handling functions
  • input/output functions
  • graphics libraries
  • etc

Topics